Obama’s System Benefits Banks, Leaves Other Americans Struggling – Activist
Obama’s System Benefits Banks, Leaves Other Americans Struggling – Activist © REUTERS/ Andy Rain
06:35 30.04.2016(updated 13:10 30.04.2016) Get short URL
Journalist, political commentator and activist Eugene Puryear explained to Brian Becker of Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear that the real economic legacy of US President Barack Obama is that he let Wall Street bankers off the hook, while everyone else’s pocketbook is “stagnant or worse.”
In a recent interview with the New York Times, outgoing US President Barack Obama, who came into office at the greatest economic recession since the 1930s, spoke about his economic legacy, claiming credit for the revival of the US economy.
Noting that Obama’s description of his economic legacy was written by “one of most pro-Wall Street writers: Andrew Ross Sorkin,” Puryear said that, although the US economy seems to have recovered somewhat since 2009, the economic situation for a large amount of people in the country has not improved, as “the wages of people have remained stagnant, and wealth has not grown while debt has grown.”
“President Obama has presided over the type of economy that has continued to put a wedge in-between the richest people and just about everyone else,” he said, “in a completely inadequate economic system that cannot deliver enough jobs for the people who are born every day.”
Obama claims that unemployment in the US is currently at about 5 percent, a dramatic reduction since 2009. However, millions of workers are not being counted among the unemployed, because they have given up hope, Puryear says, and stopped seeking employment. The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses a range of measures to estimate the unemployment rate, and the most expansive U-6 measurement method, which adds together people who have stopped looking for work, even though they still desire it, plus people underemployed for economic reasons (working part-time because they cannot find a full-time job) reveals a very different rate of 9.8 percent.
“The real number that is important for us to look at is not the unemployment rate, but the employment to population ratio over time,” Puryear explained. “What percentage of the population that is of working age is working, based on a ‘how many people are born today’ rate. If I’m born today, is the economy keeping up to make sure I have a job when I can work?”
Positive news consistently touts the US economy regularly adding more jobs. But Puryear’s calculations are not so optimistic. According to him, in order to have 100% employment for black males over 20, the economy would have to add 800,000 jobs in that demographic alone. Meanwhile, in August 2015 (when the figures were made), the economy as a whole added about 250,000 jobs.
“The economy is not actually producing enough jobs to keep up with the growth of the population over time,” he said.
The Fed’s adoption of the ‘quantitative easing policy’ also hasn’t done much good, Puryear asserts. Policies that have pumped trillions of dollars printed by the national treasury into the biggest banks have only created a massive stock market bubble for those banks that were mandated with investing the money; those banks have chosen instead to hold on to the cash, deeming it more profitable.
“It’s the illogical reality of capitalism, that you don’t invest and you don’t do things to meet any need of any human being. You do it only to make a certain amount of profit,” Puryear said.
“And that’s exactly why things like quantitative easing don’t work. Because they assume some sort of altruistic motive on the part of the bankers.”
He also noted that, under the Obama administration, there have been no criminal referrals for the bankers who sunk the economy in the first place. One of the obvious reasons is the acute concentration of wealth and power, where a vast majority of industries are controlled by a handful of corporations, and “if you start to take them out, the whole economy can collapse.”
“Capitalism has set up a system where its unbelievably destructive behavior cannot be cured without calling the system into question,” he said.